Here are three players to buy and three to sell in fantasy hoops this week. The buys are guys who’s stock is down at the moment for whatever reason—coming off injury, slight shooting slump, people have just straight up forgotten about them because their team is hot garbage—while the sells are guys who’re playing at a level of production that is not sustainable and you should consider selling them at their highest point.
I tooted my own horn a little in this week’s NBA forecaster, but I hope y’all sold Kemba Walker last week. I’m sure he won’t continue to shoot a pitiful 29% from three, but I don’t think he’s going to bounce back to the 37% he was shooting to start the season.
DeMar DeRozan, SG/SF, San Antonio Spurs
Another guy I mentioned in this week’s forecaster, DeRozan came into this week very much like a winter storm: very cold and only enjoyable if you get the day off from work. Across his last five games, DeRozan has shot the ball, and in turn, scored points, well below his season averages (40.2% from the field compared to 46.6% on the season and scoring 16.6 points per game compared to 21.9). However this is certainly just the effects of your run-of-the-mill shooting slump. How can I be so sure? Because none of his other stats have changed.
DeRozan is still giving you roughly 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal and the occasional block—all of which haven’t taken even the slightest step back during this shooting slump—while playing at least 35 minutes per game. If he wasn’t producing in any category like he once was, that would signal a perfect time to panic because it Would likely mean the Spurs suddenly changed DeRozan’s role in their offense for whatever reason. Instead, this is just a good ol’ shooting slump that he’s sure to shoot his way out of. And once he does, he’ll return to the top-20 fantasy player he was to start the season.
Tristan Thompson, C, Cleveland Cavaliers
Thompson is our weekly pick for the coveted “I’ve been injured for a long time and people might forget about exactly what I bring to the table” award. Before getting injured, Thompson was averaging 30.3 minutes, 12 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 2.1 assists across 27 games. It’s no secret what Thompson brings to the fantasy table: scoring and rebounds. Personally, I love stocking up on guys who can rebound because there’s no negative stat to go against it. More shots can lead to lower percentages and more assists can lead to more turnovers. You don’t lose points for rebounds players don’t grab.
In the seven games back from injury, Thompson has 10.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.4 assist and 0.9 steals on 28.9 minutes. As he gets back into basketball shape, those numbers will continue to climb to where they were to start the season. After all, it’s not like the Cavaliers have a whole bunch of other players to rely upon.
Devin Booker, SG, Phoenix Suns
Honestly, Booker could be either a buy or a sell on this list and I guess that’s why I’ve saved him for third. Since he’s the closest buy to the sell section, I’ll count that as a perfect compromise.
The main reason to sell Booker is just because you’re tired of the constant injuries. Booker has missed 13 games so far this season but never in one big block. He’s had three different stretches of time where he’s missed at least three games to start the season. As a Robert Covington owner—someone who also seems to be constantly out anytime I check my lineup—I can see how this constant in and out could be frustrating for an owner.
On the flip side, that is why now is the perfect time to buy him. Booker isn’t shooting the three as well as he has in seasons past, but he has been shooting better from the field and scoring more this season. Plus his assists (6.9) and steals (1.1) are currently at a career high. If he can just stay healthy, he’s certainly a great player to have on your team. If you’re looking to buy, just gauge the interest of the Booker owner in your league. They might be willing to part with him for someone who might not reach quite the highs Booker can hit, but rather for someone who’s consistently on the court.
Brandon Ingram, SF/SG, Los Angeles Lakers
I don’t want to say Brandon Ingram’s time in LA is over, but Brandon Ingram’s time in LA is over. Or at least his time on your fantasy team as this prized young player who’s going to blossom into Kevin Durant is over. Sorry Laker fans, Tatum >>>>> Ingram. (And I’m not at all sorry actually.)
The biggest thing looming over Ingram’s fantasy value is the return of LeBron James. Obviously. Ingram over the last 10 games sans LeBron has been good: 18.7 points on 46.2% shooting, 6.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 0.5 steals and 0.8 blocks on 35.4 minutes. However, those numbers are all inflated because of his increased usage. He’s not shooting better without LeBron so as soon as LeBron comes back and Ingram sees his usage and attempts go down, so will his numbers. Now is the time to sell on whatever high you can milk out of Ingram’s time without LeBron before the King returns.
Aaron Gordon, PF, Orlando Magic
You should be selling Gordon because the Magic might be selling Gordon. Gordon’s name has always been batted about in trade rumors and if the Magic were to move the big man, his fantasy value is sure to take a hit no matter what team he’s moved to. The reason I feel comfortable making such a sweeping claim despite having no idea what team Gordon could be traded to if indeed he’s traded? Because no team is going to give Gordon the workload that Orlando has.
Gordon’s offense has gotten better but his game is inconsistent to say the least. Just look across the last seven games Gordon as played in. You have games like the one he had Monday against the Rockets where he scored 22 points on 53% shooting and collected 8 boards. However, just three games earlier he put up a stinker where he scored only 10 points on 23% shooting. He works in Orlando because he’s averaging 33.5 minutes per game and tied for third on the team in usage rate. He’s not going to see that workload on any team he gets traded to. Plus he’s coming off a couple of really big games so you might be able to get something nice for him.
Luka Doncic, SG/PF, Dallas Mavericks
I have SO many disclaimers to this entry. First off, DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT TRADING LUKA IF YOU PLAY IN A DYNASTY LEAGUE. This message is only for those in redraft leagues. I repeat: ONLY FOR THOSE IN REDRAFT LEAGUES. Disclaimer number two: You’re only trading Luka for a proven fantasy stud, like a top-15 fantasy guy.
The reason to even entertain the notion of trading Luka is because how long the NBA season is. You always hear about a rookie wall and players hitting it because they’re used to playing college basketball which is about 30 games as compared to the 82 that NBA players play. Now Luka didn’t play in the US but even still, last year he played 60 games instead of 82. We’re 43 games into the NBA season and you can start to see Luka getting tired; over the last seven games, his free throw percentage is down—61% compared to 73% on the season—which is often the first sign of a player fatiguing. I’m not saying Luka is going to suddenly start sucking (as a Luka owner myself I certainly hope that won’t be the case) but don’t be surprised if his production falters a little. That being said, Luka is a God and can do no wrong and will break the rookie wall like the plethora of ankles his killer step back has shattered. LONG LIVE LUKA!